Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Trudie Styler Speaks about Her Dyslexia and ADHD

I was really lucky to have the opportunity (through the ninth annual Adam Jeffrey Katz Memorial Lecture hosted by the Child Mind Institute) to hear Trudie Styler, an actress, humanitarian and activist, speak about her struggles with dyslexia and ADHD. She is an amazing accomplished woman who exuded confidence, grace and a solid understanding of herself and her strengths. She spoke candidly about her struggles and what she did when nothing seemed to be working. And like many dyslexics, she attributed a lot of her successes to luck as opposed to the hard work that she obviously did to get to where she is today.

Article about the Trudie Styler lecture: This article by Dr. Koplewicz is a more detailed account of the lecture and some of the insights Ms. Styler shared.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Henry Winkler's Book Series

If you know of a 7-12 year old who has experienced learning difficulties, the Hank Zipzer books are a great series of books that they might enjoy. Written by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver, the books follow a boy, Hank (based on Winkler), who has learning challenges, but is resourceful and always finds a way to figure things out. I really like the tone of the books as well as the main character. I also like that, as a teacher, these books are just as appealing to students who do not have learning challenges and that it can teach typically developing students about how everyone learns differently and sometimes people need a little extra support.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dyslexic "Jokes"

Last night, while my professor was handing out our exams, he said something to the effect of "Write legibly. Don't be all dyslexic and write all over the page so I can't read it." A number of students chuckled.

Now I don't want to be one of those over-sensitive people who are always noticing when someone could possibly be slighting them. Many times I just let the dyslexic jokes go by, realizing that most people don't actually understand the disorder and that it is more than just writing letters backwards or jumbling up letters. But I have to wonder whether I should be speaking up more and correcting people so that they know that their jokes are hurtful and more to the point, incorrect. Sure some dyslexics write backwards when they are learning to read and write. In fact, I am excellent at writing in mirror image. However, that is not the crux of the disorder-- the disorder is about manipulating units of language and breaking down words into component parts. Sure there are other characteristics that a dyslexic may or may not exhibit, but it is not a disorder of writing words backwards or jumbling words on a page-- it is deeper than that and I am starting to wonder whether we need to have a campaign to finally set the record straight and stop these stupid and pointless "jokes."